After a rather confusing, and at times, troubling debate, the Senate Education Committee approved House Bill 442, the corporal punishment reform bill, this morning.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, all this modest little bill does is:
1) Require school officals to try and contact parents before administering corporal punishment,
2) Give parents the option of signing a form at the beginning of the school year to direct that their child or children not be subjected to corporal punishment, and
3) Require local school officials to keep records and statistics on the kids they hit.
Of course, these provisions would not apply to the many counties that have already banned the practice.
As is almost always the case with these discussions in the legislature, the debate featured numerous somewhat disturbing moments in which lawmakers “joked” about the beatings they or other legislators had received while growing up.
Perhaps the low point in the debate, however, came when one senator related that he was opposed to the bill because his wife, a third grade teacher, opposed it.
Got that? A woman who teaches eight and nine year olds is opposed to the idea of giving parents a veto over her striking their children or going to the “trouble” of calling them before she does so.
That argument alone ought to be grounds for passing the bill immediately.